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New Maryland Law Takes Effect, Allows Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain Driver’s License

by | Jan 21, 2014

On the first of this year, a new Maryland law permitting undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses went into effect. The measure, which was originally signed into law in May by Governor Martin O’Malley, creates a permanent two-tiered driver’s license system. Under the law, illegal immigrants will be allowed to obtain a second-tier driver’s license if they meet certain requirements, including having filed tax returns for the previous two years. The driver’s licenses will not be recognized for federal purposes, meaning that they cannot be used to enter federal buildings or board airplanes.

Maryland Driver's License

The new law was passed amid strong support and boisterous opposition, which included the following arguments:

Support for the Law

Support for the new law was centered on making Maryland roadways safer. By allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to obtain a license, they would have to take written and road tests with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). They would also be eligible for insurance coverage. As uninsured drivers pose such serious threats to the well-being of injured car accident victims, this was one of the most significant reasons for passing the law.

Opposition against the Law

Opponents of the new law made arguments from a more comprehensive view on the immigration debate. Generally, opposition claimed that the measure would reward immigrants who entered the country illegally and that it could potentially result in lost opportunities for American citizens and legal residents.

Protecting Maryland Motorists

In the short time since the law took effect, thousands of undocumented immigrants have obtained a Maryland drivers’ license, making for busy days at MVAs throughout the state. Whatever arguments may have been had in the past, the law is here to stay. For many, however, more licensed and insured drivers make Maryland roads and highways safer.

At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our Maryland car accident lawyers advocate for the rights of injured victims by holding negligent parties accountable for their actions. Having represented many car accidents victims throughout the years, we have seen just how devastating a case can be when an at-fault driver is uninsured. The new law may be controversial, but – as many believe – it was passed with the best interests of Maryland residents in mind.

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